AVON, OH - For the second time in the past three seasons, a Buffalo baseball player has garnered the top postseason honor from the Mid-American Conference. Senior outfielder Jason Kanzler was named the 2013 MAC Player of the Year Tuesday afternoon, and head coach Ron Torgalski was also honored as the league's coach of the year, after the two led the Bulls to a 19-7 MAC record and a second place finish.
Kanzler joins friend and former teammate Tom Murphy (in 2011) as Player of the Year honorees. The Penfield, NY native had a career year, batting .322 with 10 home runs, 46 runs batted in, and 20 steals. He led the conference in slugging percentage, RBI, home runs, and total bases, and played exemplary defense in center field to build off a 2012 season where he was named to the Rawlings Gold Glove team.
In the UB record books, his 2013 numbers rank almost literally in every major statistical category, and he continues to charge up the ranks in many other career lists. This season, he also started a brand new list of his own, becoming the first player in the program's all-time history to reach 10 home runs and 20 steals. He was a two-time winner of the MAC East Player of the Week this season.
He was happy to share the adulation on Tuesday with his coach and mentor, who was honored as coach of the year for the first time. After the Bulls were picked in the preseason to finish dead last in the MAC East, and second-to-last overall, Coach Torgalski and the Bulls not only surpassed those expectations, but set dozens of new program "firsts" along the way.
The team did not lose a single conference weekend series all year, finishing with 19 wins that shattered the previous best of 11 set back in 2007. The team also sits at 32 wins for the season, nine more than the 2010 record of 23 for the post-reinstatement era and is currently tied for the most ever with the 1980 team.
Under Torgalski, the team earned eight player/pitcher of the week honors. He and his coaching staff have coached the team to one of its best all-around seasons ever. The team pitching staff's combined earned run average of 3.65 is the lowest since 1973, and the defense's fielding percentage of .964 also matches a program record.
The Bulls will look to keep the dream season rolling into the MAC tournament, which starts tomorrow with a 4 pm game against Toledo. Live audio will be available at BuffaloBulls.com.
Head Coach Ron Torgalski - MAC Coach of the Year
Senior Outfielder Jason Kanzler - MAC Player of the Year